When life brings you moles

Have you ever seen a picture of a mole? Not the ones that show up on our body and are watched by dermatologists. I am talking about the ugly little suckers that bore holes in your yard. They look like rats, but with larger front paws, and they have poor eyesight. Can you believe they can be as little as 3 inches long, and weigh 3+ ounces? Those little suckers can make a major mess for being so little.

photo 2 (30)They are also annoying little suckers. Chris and I are in the process of overhauling our backyard, a little bit each weekend, and while it is nowhere near completion, we have been joined by a mole or moles (we are not sure yet).  It started at the perimeter of our yard and only in mulched areas where we could smash the dirt back down and then cover back up with mulch, but over the past week it started in our grass. First one then another hole. Chris filled the large holes with water, and added the pellets that are supposed to make them itch, but then it was obvious that they came right back up the same holes and then created another one each day last week, so now we have 6 new mole holes (see photo below).

From our research it sounds like we are not the only ones that are stumped and there seems to be a zillion options for handling a mole (see this list of ideas, some seem a bit far-fetched). photo 3 (19)

I am about to start my own version of “Whack a Mole” in my backyard. We are fed up. If I knew where they would be, (sorry mole lovers) I’d get a pitchfork and shovel and have some fun. Alas. Mister Catch-a-Mole Man is coming to visit us today. I hope it is his only visit and he catches this mole. When life brings you moles, you fight back.

Did you forget?

I subscribe to a multitude of email newsletters. Airline fare sales, inspirational newsletters, blogs I follow, shopping discounts, to name a few. However, recently I have noticed a rather annoying and frequent trend from retailers. I will tell you right now that I am not blind and it is not anything new, it just seems that in the past few months it has been blatantly excessive. Now, I know I can unsubscribe from the emails, the discounts, or sales, and that would be the easiest way to end my frustration.

I do not give up that easy. Let me give you a bit more context. I do not really ultimately care about the emails with deals, or the ones that say “hey did you know our new product line is in stores, and here is a bit of a reveal to what you will see.” That is actually enticing to me. What I have seen in the last few months is a true influx of pervasive emails reminding me what I have left in my cart, or reminding me of items I clicked into for more detail. Now I know that the items left in my cart are sitting in my cart, so it makes a bit of sense to get a reminder that they are still there. I mean gosh I wish that could happen for me in the grocery store when I leave and do not come back for a week. Maybe they too can suggest an item that I may like because of the item in my shopping cart. Joking. That would only deter me even more from going to the grocery store.

What I do not need is to be told multiple times each day that I have items in my cart. Once a day is enough. Last week, I had put a few items in my West Elm shopping cart so I could show Chris later. Each day last week I got a new email listing just one of the items in my shopping cart. I had four items in my cart, and rather than just sending me one reminder email listing all the items, I got four different emails one day after the other. Annoying and I feel like I am getting spammed. West Elm is not the only offender, Gap does the same thing and there are others.

What creeps me out the most (and yes I know about tracking cookies and websites knowing what you are looking at, but it still is creepy) is when I click into the detail of an item and potentially could do that on hundreds of items on a website, and then I get emails that say: “Take Another Look: [insert name of product].” There was a reason I did not put it in my shopping cart and I do not want to be reminded that I did not purchase the item.

If online retailers are not careful they will piss off their customers. No one wants to feel followed or tracked down. It is no different than going into a retail store and the person that greets you says hello, tells you about their sales, and then proceeds to follow and talk to you as you wander throughout the store. Sometimes (most of the time for me) we just want to be left alone to shop. Will this in your face online phase change?

What do you think?

99 Days Without…Facebook?

Are you addicted? Am I? I am not entirely sure. I am a 1-2 times a day Facebook user. I usually check in the morning when I post my blog, and then at night before bed. I will be completely honest that other than posting my blog and a random quote or idea here or there, that I am more of a voyeuristic Facebook user. I like to see photos of friends, connect with folks from my childhood (some… not all), and generally keep up with friends. I am not one to care about whether you made it to the bathroom that day or all the endless rants and crap about your day. I like to find information that adds to my life rather than bores me to death. Pictures help. They help a lot. So if you are posting photos I am generally going to look at them.

So when I came across this Christian Science Monitor article regarding a campaign to not use Facebook for 99 days, I was quasi interested. Could I do it? Probably not. Would it be good for me to disconnect? Most definitely. Do I have the strength in me to do it? Maybe. I am not sure. I like staying connected in my own non-consumed way. So then you might say, “So why would it be hard for you to disengage for 99 days?” I like knowing what is happening. I like seeing the newborn baby pictures of a good friend that lives on the other side of the world. I like being inspired. Yes, there is a lot of junk I want to block and a lot of stuff I couldn’t give a shit about, but could I disconnect for three months? I am not sure.

Is it sad that I feel that way? Maybe. Or maybe I am a slight introvert and a slight extrovert and Facebook allows me to decide HOW I want to engage. How often and in what ways. The initiative is called, “99 Days of Freedom.” I do like the sound of that. I am truly curious about the question in the article: “How do you feel when you don’t use Facebook?” I think there is only one way to tell. Would you like to join me and see, or are you just as much addicted that it will be hard to not log in? The only way I can imagine trying is to delete your account, and remove all history of your online Facebook data. Otherwise, how would you stop yourself from logging in?

It looks like at the time of the article, 17,000 people had signed up for the 99 Days… That is a good amount. Are you going to join them?

 

Standing = 8 less lbs a year

For those of you that know me, I am a multi-tasker.

While in a meeting in a different building at work, I found two treadmill desks. How much I would love to have a treadmill desk at work. I could walk a ton and get so much done. A colleague said he had read an article about how standing at work is like running 10 marathons a year. I had to find it online.

Lately I have been struggling with sleeping on my side and my shoulders hurting in the middle of the night. The only way I have been able to get back to sleep was to stay on my back, or try sleeping on my stomach (a new feat for me)! It has made me start to think about how much I let my shoulders slump forward, or generally how I sit at my desk during the day. I have a high desk, so I can definitely work all day standing up, and yet I often do not. It is easier to sit, and then over time I realize that I am not sitting up straight, I am hunched over, and at the end of the day my shoulders, neck, and back hurt.

I am a competitive one, so if I started tracking how long I stood at my desk each day, and if the article is right, then I would be on track. Maybe not like truly running 10 marathons, but better for my health, better for my back, shoulders, and neck, and hopefully more focused on what I am working on. My problem? I am often not at my desk and usually in meetings throughout the day, so what does that mean for me? That whenever I am at my desk, I should stand? Maybe I should move my chair out of the way, so I know if I have given into the comfort of the hunch.

We are also on a mission for finally getting a king sized bed, so maybe a new mattress will help with the side sleeping dilemma, and standing all day will help my shoulders – and heck, as the article says burn 8 pounds of fat in a year.

An extra day for the spirit

It is amazing what an extra day off can do for the spirit. I feel quite rested after the three-day holiday weekend. We did plenty of little projects around the house, had yummy food, saw friends, laughed, snuggled, and decided not to go out to Sunday brunch so we could stay home and just be together. We explored re-architecting the backyard, and the adventures of planning a trip. Oh, and we ate a lot of food. A friend made the most amazing tarts with local fresh fruit, we grilled, and had a turkey dinner on Independence Day.

We saw art vendors on NW 13th Street in Portland at First Thursday. I learned that the shi-shi art scene has changed before my eyes. As we wandered around the streets of the Pearl District, what used to be relaxed, organic, and simple is different. I saw stilettos (even in neon green). I saw tattoos, and not the local-esque variety, more of the Jersey shore type. And dresses, oh man, dresses with just too much ass showing. Maybe I am getting old, but it seems as though Portland has transformed a bit and I have missed it. What made it all feel like I still loved this city is the band that marched through the street, causing all to stop and stare. This is what makes people say: “Keep Portland Weird.” This is why I love Portland.

Call us lame, but we did not venture out for fireworks on the Fourth. We stayed home, were quiet, in the sun, and together. This weekend was the zen I needed to feel like the world was back in balance. I finished two books, and started a third. I got sunkissed. I smiled a lot and was playful, and sorely addicted to Chris. Amazing what can happen with a few more hours in the weekend. A few more hours to put your feet up, or to sleep in and snuggle.

I am rested. I feel more balanced. I have new creative ideas. My spirit is just a bit higher and happier.